Monday, December 31, 2007
Happy new year!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
My thoughts about what was revealed in the family tree:
Bill and Fleur have three kids? I can see that.
Charlie never got married? That's surprising. He seems like such a nice guy.
George married Angelina? Is it Angelina Johnson? Interesting, because Fred is the one who took Angelina to the Yule Ball. Their son is named Fred... which makes complete sense.
I don't recognize the woman Percy married. It's touching that he named his daughter after his mother- it shows that they really reconciled.
I don't recognize the woman Draco married. Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy- that's a rough name for a kid.
The names of Luna's kids seem appropriately dreamy and Shakespearean.
I love the middle names of Harry's kids:
James Sirius- it's lovely that Harry honored them both. What an appropriate name for that kid. He seems like a mix of James and Sirius.
Albus Severus: we already knew about from the epilogue, but I like that both Snape and Dumbledore are honored together.
Lily Luna: How nice that they named their daughter after Luna. That really shows the strength of Harry and Ginny's relationship with her.
I also love that Arthur and Molly are Harry's inlaws and that Hermione and Ron are Harry's sister and brother in law.
What do you think?
Here's what I'm looking for:
- Independent bookstores (locally owned) that either specialize in children's books or have large children's book sections.
- Libraries with wonderful children's departments. It can either be a specific branch or a large system. It can be a new library, a remodeled library or one that's been around forever.
- What do you like about the library or bookstore? What do they do well? What impresses you? Do you like their website? If you've been there several times, why do you keep coming back?
I have lots of bookstore resources posted on the sidebar and a long list of independent bookstores. For an example of a bookstore profile, here's one I just posted about Powells in Portland, Oregon.
If you'd be willing to write a guest post, you can e-mail me at wizardwireless [at] gmail [dot] com or leave a note in the comments.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
All I have to say is: Wow. Wow. Wow. What an amazing place. This may well be one of the most incredible bookstores I've ever been in. Powells covers a full city block and has four floors filled with books. There are rows and rows of books on every subject imaginable. It's easy to get lost here and never come out.
And the children's section (where I spent most of my time) is particularly extraordinary. For example, there was a whole section just dedicated to Newbery books. Practically every book that had every won the Newbery Medal or received a Newbery honor was sitting there, in the same place. Also, since Powells interfiles used books with new books, I was able to find out of print and rare editions of books I love.
As I was walking through Powells, I overheard a lot of people talking on their cell phones. But they weren't have long conversations... they were just trying to FIND each other because the place is so big. For example: "I'm in Row 628, where are you?" or "I'm in the Purple Room... I'll meet you in the Green Room."
I highly recommend their fantastic website, which provides the same services as Amazon. They offer deep discounts, fast shipping, excellent customer service, and customer reviews. It's really wonderful. Check it out and support an independent bookstore.
If you love books and you're ever in Portland... or on the west coast... or in the United States, Powells is well worth a visit.
Have you ever been to Powells? What did you think?
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Doesn't Anthony look odd in the fourth panel?
Why do so many important scenes with Elizabeth seem to happen in the car?
Your post can be about anything at all on the subject, but here are a couple of questions about awards to get you started:
- What awards do you like the best?
- What are your predictions for this year?
- What are your favorite winners from previous years?
- What books do you wish had won in years past?
- Is there a lesser known award that you think should get more publicity?
- Are there any awards that you'd like to change the rules for?
- What award would you like to create?
- If you've had the experience of winning an award, what was it like?
- What awards have your books won that have meant the most to you?
- What award would you most like to win?
- What was the experience like? (just the parts you can tell us about, of course)
- What did you enjoy? What were your favorite parts?
- What did you like the least?
- Would you do it again?
- Which committee would you most like to serve on?
There's no need to limit posts to national awards. They can be about student choice awards, state library association awards, awards given by publications, etc. Anything goes, as long as it applies to children's and young adult literature.
For an excellent listing of children's book awards, I highly recommend the Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature, compiled by librarian Lisa Bartle.
The finalists for the Cybils (Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards) are being announced starting January 1. The American Library Awards (including the Newbery, the Caldecott and the first ever Odyssey, oh my) are being announced on January 14th.
The deadline for this carnival is on January 18 so that if you want to write about your reactions to this year's Cybils finalists or ALA award winners, you'll have plenty of time. The carnival will be posted on January 21. Posts don't have to be written in January... feel free to submit an older post if it's related to the theme.
To submit a post to the carnival (and I really hope you do, especially if it's your first carnival), go to Blog Carnival. Or e-mail your post to: wizardwireless [at] gmail [dot] com
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
It's one of my favorite books. I can't believe I left it out of my post about books to give to babies, because I give it as a baby gift all the time.
It's a compilation of picture books, which doesn't seem very extraordinary. After all, there are a lot of compilations. But what makes this one so special is the books that are included. Just about every classic picture book is in this book, including: Good Night Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, Curious George, Madeline, The Story of Ferdinand, The Snowy Day and Make Way for Ducklings. And the more recent books are in there too, like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and The Stinky Cheese Man. Plus, the book includes early readers like Frog and Toad and Amelia Bedelia, and books for babies such as Freight Train, and Ten, Nine, Eight. All together, there are forty four books in one (relatively small) volume. It's just terrific.
Why does this particular collection contain so many crown jewels of children's literature? Well, I have a theory about that... and it has to do with the editor. The name of the woman who put this book together is Janet Schulman. She's a giant in the children's publishing industry and was the Editor in Chief at Random House for a number of years. Plus, she was Dr. Seuss' last editor. I think that she had the muscle and the connections to pull a book like this together and to get the rights to all the classics in a way that no one else could. Or at least, that's my theory.
Now, if you check out the reviews on Amazon's page for this book, you'll find that lots of people love it, while others don't care for it. The main complaint is that the book compresses too much. And that's true. None of the text is abridged, but pictures are jammed in next to each other to conserve space. For example, the entire text and the illustrations of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day appear on two pages. That's it. Just two pages.
So, purists may not enjoy it. But, I think the book is great for other reasons and that's why I give it as a gift. It's a terrific resource to help parents remember classics from when they were little.... and to introduce them and their kids to new books they may not know. If there's a book you or your kids fall in love with, you can always purchase the original, un-edited version.
Also, it's wonderful to travel with. Think about it... you can pack forty four individual picture books, or just one book that contains them all. One more advantage to this book: it contains an age index. There are recommendations for all age levels, which makes it easy to select an appropriate story. And, there are terrific bios of all the authors and illustrators in the back of the book.
For more about the book and to see samples, head over to Random House's website about The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury.
And, if you're curious, here's a list of all the picture books (listed alphabetical by title) contained in this fantastic compilation:
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good,Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
- Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel
- Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Garth Williams
- The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- A Boy, a Dog and a Frog by Mercer Mayer
- "The Cat Club" by Esther Averill
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
- Curious George by H. A. Rey
- D.W. the Picky Eater by Marc Brown
- "The Elves in the Shelves" by Joan Aiken, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski
- First Tomato by Rosemary Wells
- Freight Train by Donald Crews
- Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
- Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
- I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry
- I Hear, I See, and I Touch by Helen Oxenbury
- "In Which Pooh Goes Visiting..." by A. A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
- "The Letter" by Arnold Lobel
- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
- A Million Fish...More or Less by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Dena Schutzer
- Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág
- Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall
- Owen by Kevin Henkes
- Petunia by Roger Duvoisin
- "The Sneetches" by Dr. Seuss
- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson
- The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman, illustrated by Fred Marcellino
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
- Stevie by John Steptoe
- "The Stinky Cheese Man" by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
- The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
- Swimmy by Leo Lionni
- Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
- Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
- Titch by Pat Hutchins
- The Tub People by Pam Conrad, illustrated by Richard Egielski
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Jose Aruego
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Here's his review of How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman:
This imaginative book shows children that if one door is closed, they can explore different options. It allows a kid to imagine what it would be like to travel the world. It lets them take a trip on an ocean liner, learn how to speak another language, see how cultures function around the world... all by gathering the necessary ingredients to make a pie. It has a tongue in cheek approach throughout the book, especially at the end.
I agree with my dad. This is a humorous, creative and beautifully illustrated picture book... and the end always makes me laugh. I'd recommend it for ages 3 and up. Give it a try if you don't know it.
And if you're a a Harry Potter fan:
Wizards Wireless is honoring the occasion by playing "A Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love" by Celestina Warbeck all day.
Your presents will appear magically at the foot of your bed (I hope you don't receive any from Kreacher, Lavender Brown or the Dursleys.)
Mrs. Weasley knitted you a lovely sweater and baked you a dozen homemade pies.
Hagrid made you a big box of treacle fudge, which you should warm up in front of the fire before eating.
Don't eat chocolate cakes left in the Entrance Hall as they may be filled with a sleeping draft.
Dinner will be served in the Great Hall, and you don't have to sit next to Professor Trelawney unless you want to.
Make sure to pull a wizard cracker during dinner.
Remember that the mistletoe is probably full of knargles.
Don't forget to visit your relatives at St. Mungo's.
Be sure to leave a wreath of Christmas roses on your parents' graves.
You should feel free to pelt Percy with mashed potatoes if he shows up at your house uninvited.
Have a lovely day (and you earn ten points for Gryffindor if you recognized what Harry Potter book the title of this post comes from.)
Monday, December 24, 2007
My children's literature professor in library school said: "If you learn only one thing from this class, let it be this: Newbery is spelled with one R."
I learned much more from the class than that. But I certainly did take away the fact that the Newbery Medal is named after the British publisher John Newbery, who spelled his last name with one R, not two. And since then, I cringe every time I see the Newberry Medal mentioned. Talking about the books that have won the Newbery Medal is far more interesting than learning how to spell it, but I couldn't resist slipping that in.
I just finished up a poll about favorite Caldecott books, so it's only natural that now I'm switching to favorite Newbery books. To find out more about the Newbery medal, click here. Here's a list of all the Newbery medalists, and here's a list of all the winners and honor books.
I just added an extremely lengthy poll to this blog... even longer than the Caldecott poll, because the Newbery has been around longer. What are your favorite books that won the Newbery Medal?
- 2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
- 1999: Holes by Louis Sachar
- 1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
- 1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- 1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- 1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
- 1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
- 1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
- 1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
And here are my favorite Newbery honor books:
- 2007: Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
- 2007: Rules by Cynthia Lord
- 2000: Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
- 1996: The Great Fire by Jim Murphy
- 1982: Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
- 1979: The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
- 1978: Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
- 1976: Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
- 1973: Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
- 1953: Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
- 1948: Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
- 1944: These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 1942: Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 1941: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 1940: By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 1939: Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
- 1938: On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 1929: Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág
Please vote, I'd love to see your opinion. The results from my Caldecott poll were fascinating. You can pick as many of your favorite Newbery medal winners as you like (sorry, I didn't include honor books for sanity's sake.)
And if you learn only one thing from this post, let it be this: Newbery is spelled with one R.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Question: Amazon bought J.K. Rowling's limited edition book. What do you think?
- 50%: I'm delighted that the book will now be shared instead of languishing in a safe deposit box.
- 18%: I'm not sure why Amazon bought it.
- 12%: I can't believe they paid FOUR million dollars.
- 12%: Can I put it in my Amazon shopping cart?
- 6%: I'm disappointed that anyone but me got it.
J.K. Rowling said something very similar on her website. Here's her reaction to the sale of the book to Amazon.
Question: I read For Better or For Worse...
- 31%: Every day. Online.
- 15%: Every day. Sometimes online. Sometimes in the newspaper.
- 15%: Occasionally.
- 15%: I never read it.
- 10%: Every day. In the newspaper.
- 5%: About once a week.
- 5%: If it's in front of me and I have nothing better to do.
- 0%: I catch up with it every few weeks or so.
- 0%: When the collections are published.
- 0%: Only when the storylines interest me.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
If you've read Burton's classic story (and chances are you have)... you may remember that Mary Anne (the steam shovel) gets stuck in the cellar and can't get out. I've always thought that the resolution to the problem is the most memorable aspect of the book.
Take a look at the paragraph where the idea is suggested by the (unnamed) little boy:
"Why couldn't we leave Mary Anne in the cellar and build the new town hall above her? Let her be the furnace for the new town hall* and let Mike Mulligan be the janitor. Then you wouldn't have to buy a new furnace, and we could pay Mike Mulligan for digging the cellar in just one day."
*Acknowledgments to Dickie Birkenbush.
Go check your copy, you'll see the asterisk. It's included in every edition of the book ever published.
Who is Dickie Birkenbush, you ask? When Burton was working on the book in 1938, she had literally written herself into a corner and didn't know how to get Mary Anne out of the Popperville town cellar. She shared her dilemma during dinner with family friends. Dick, then a child of twelve, suggested the ingenious solution of turning Mary Anne into a furnace.
In gratitude, Burton credited her young collaborator. What I think is so impressive about it, is that she did it right in the actual text, not in the acknowledgments. What an amazing way to say thank you and to give credit where it was due. (Unfortunately, she misspelled his name... the correct spelling is actually Berkenbush.)
So, in an age where plagiarism is rampant and and children's ideas aren't always taken seriously... I find what Virginia Lee Burton did to be inspiring.
To read more about Dick Berkenbush, now in his eighties, see this article from 2006 in the Boston Globe. There was also a great article about Virginia Lee Burton published in 2002 in School Library Journal. And, Houghton Mifflin, the publisher of Mike Mulligan, has a website dedicated to this classic book.
And if you haven't read Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel recently, go pick it up again. It's just as good as the first time you read it.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Now that there are only a few shopping days left until Christmas, I've been thinking about those items again. What if you could receive an item from the Harry Potter world as a gift and it would function exactly the way it did in the books? The catch is that you could only choose one. Which would it be?
A magic wand?
The Sorcerer's Stone? (which would give you the Elixir of life, and unlimited money)
The Marauders Map? (if it was a map of your home, office, school, etc. )
The invisibility cloak? (which would come in handy if there was anyone you wanted to avoid)
The Mirror of Erised? (that you could use to see your heart's desire)
A coin from Dumbledore's Army? (that could pass messages)
Gryffindor's Sword? (that could destroy any unwanted item?)
A time turner? (which would come in handy)
A deluminator? (which turns out lights, and does the cool thing it does in book 7).
Or a foaming hot mug of butterbeer?
Or something else entirely?
Hmmmm... good question. What do you think? See the poll in the sidebar or leave a message in the comments.
Update: The poll results are here.
Book of Memories
as I flip through the pages
of the well-worn book.
Since the last time
I looked there have been
I see each one vividly
as I turn the pages.
Usually I need a photo album
to conjure the images.
all it takes is my
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
As if the guest star wasn't enough, the show (and particularly the intro) is very, very funny. And J.K. Rowling discusses a number of burning issues, such as:
How Dumbledore's feelings about Grindelwald are relevant to the plot.
What "in essence divided" means in the 5th book when Dumbledore sees two divided snakes in the strange instrument in his office.
Why Harry experiences pain in his scar.
Why the Sorting Hat almost sorted Harry into Slytherin (I guessed correctly on this one!)
What James and Lily (and Neville's parents) did to thrice defy Voldemort.
J.K Rowling's opinions about Neville.
The confusing timing in the first chapter of Book One. If Hagrid rescued Harry from his parents house right after it was destroyed... then why did it take him 24 hours before he appeared at the Dursley's house? Jo talks about this a bit more and gives a very honest answer to the conundrum.
Did Ron, Harry and Hermione finish school?
Stay tuned for part two!
The January carnival will be right here at Wizards Wireless with a focus on children's book awards.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Let me start with a bit more focus on For Better or Worse.
- It's a very popular and well-known strip drawn by Canadian author Lynn Johnston. It appears in roughly a gazillion newspapers and garners more attention and fans than most daily strips because the characters age and develop. Recently, the author has decided to stop aging the characters and run repeats of strips originally published decades ago.... see my previous posts about this comic strip.
- I've been having a lovely discussion in the comments of this post about For Better or For Worse with Liz of A Chair, A Fire Place and A Tea Cozy. Liz said the following: "I have to say, I love finding another person who is obsessed with the FBFW soap opera!" Liz, I love it too. In fact, it's inspired me to post more about FBoFW and other developments in comic strips I follow.
- Quick explanation of the acronyms: For Better or For Worse is abbreviated in a variety of ways... I typically use FBoFW. Others use FBFW. Lynn Johnston uses FBorFW, as evidenced that the strip's website is http://www.fborfw.com.
- Incidentally, if you read For Better or For Worse regularly, I highly recommend joining the Yahoo Group FBOFW: The For Better of Worse Forum.
- And, here's my reaction to the FBoFW strip for Monday, December 17th: That's it? She just left the cliffhanger from last week? Now I've got to read about holiday baking when I'm dying to know about Anthony, Therese's, Elizabeth's and Francie's reactions? At least the strip is still in the present tense, though.
- Out of curiosity, I've added a poll to the sidebar to see how many people who read this blog also read FBoFW or if it's just Liz and I.
- If you are a regular reader of FBoFW (or however you wish to acronym it), what are your thoughts about the recent developments in the past two years or so?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
For an excellent example of a carnival, see the November Carnival at MotherReader.
The January Carnival will be held right here at Wizards Wireless! The theme is awards... more details to come.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
And that doesn't surprise me at all. I've aways considered Where the Wild Things Are to be one of the most famous and popular Caldecott medal books. It is interesting, though, that in the top three, the most recent book is from 1986. I was also surprised that Black and White, the multi-layered groundbreaking book by David Macaulay only got one vote.
Question: What are your favorite Caldecott Medal books?
1st place: 19 votes
1964: Where the Wild Things Are
2nd place: 15 votes
1963: The Snowy Day
3rd place: 12 votes each
1986: The Polar Express
4th place: 11 votes each
1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria
1943: The Little House
5th place: 10 votes
1970: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
6th place: 9 votes
7th place: 7 votes each
2000: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
1985: Saint George and the Dragon
1976: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
8th place: 6 votes each
2005: Kitten's First Full Moon
2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
9th place: 5 votes each
2006: The Hello, Goodbye Window
1988: Owl Moon
10th place: 4 votes each
2002: The Three Pigs
2001: So You Want to Be President?
1999: Snowflake Bentley
1954: Madeline's Rescue
11th place: 3 votes each
2003: My Friend Rabbit
1994: Grandfather's Journey
1993: Mirette on the High Wire
1990: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from
1989: Song and Dance Man
1971: A Story A Story
1968: Drummer Hoff
1944: Many Moons
12th place: 2 votes each
1995: Smoky Night
1987: Hey, Al
1980: Ox-Cart Man
1958: Time of Wonder
1957: A Tree Is Nice
1956: Frog Went A-Courtin'
13th place: 1 vote each
1991: Black and White
1984: The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot
1974: Duffy and the Devil
1973: The Funny Little Woman
1972: One Fine Day
1962: Once a Mouse
1961: Baboushka and the Three Kings
1955: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper
1950: Song of the Swallows
1949: The Big Snow
1948: White Snow, Bright Snow
Last place: 0 votes each
1979: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
1975: Arrow to the Sun
1969: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
1967: Sam, Bangs & Moonshine
1966: Always Room for One More
1965: May I Bring a Friend?
1960: Nine Days to Christmas
1959: Chanticleer and the Fox
1953: The Biggest Bear
1952: Finders Keepers
1951: The Egg Tree
1947: The Little
1946: The Rooster Crows
1945: Prayer for a Child
1941: They Were Strong and Good
1940: Abraham Lincoln
1939: Mei Li
1938: Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book
Friday, December 14, 2007
Free from papers to write
Except for grocery lists.
Free from assigned books to read
Except for bedtime stories.
Free from homework to do
Except for work around my home.
Until next semester.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The auction was yesterday and the book sold for... wait for it... 1,950,000 British pounds. Which, at the current exchange rate converts into $3,979,933.51 American dollars. What the heck, I'll round that figure up to four million dollars. A bargain.. for an original unpublished book by J.K. Rowling.
Earlier reports, such as this one from Publisher's Weekly, announced that the winner was Hazlitt Gooden & Fox, a British art dealer. However, the art dealer was acting as an agent and the actual buyer was... wait for it again... Amazon.com. Intriguing.
And, before you get all excited, no, you can't go add it to your Amazon shopping cart. But, according to the Leaky Cauldron and Amazon's message boards, the book will go on tour to schools so kids can see it for themselves, which I think is a fabulous idea. And, to see a bit more of the book yourself, check out the pictures at Amazon's new Beedle the Bard website.
Update: Amazon is posting reviews of the stories in the book! Check the Beedle the Bard website mentioned above to see the reviews (essentially detailed plot summaries) of all five fairy tales.
Further update: The book is now being published! It will be available for sale on December 4, 2008. See this post for more details.
Update: Hmmm... didn't go quite where I expected, at least not yet. I thought there would be a confrontation between Therese and Elizabeth, not between Therese and Francie. I'll just have to wait and see. If you want to see the comic strips I'm referring to... Friday's is here and Saturday's is here.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
No matter what you call them, electronic discussion groups are wonderful resources. They focus on a particular topic... and all members of the group receive all the e-mails posted to the group.If you prefer, you can elect to read the posts in digest form, where all the posts of the day are combined into one e-mail.
Here are are some of the discussion groups about children's literature that I enjoy reading and have found particularly helpful. Click on the links for instructions about how to join each group.
CCBC-net: Cooperative Children's Book Center discussion group. This is a wonderful group that focuses on specific topics about children's books. The discussion changes every two weeks. Subscribers include librarians, teachers, editors and authors.
Child_lit: Children's Literature. This group talks about a wide variety of topics related to theory and criticism of children's books. Very informative and very interesting. Subscribers include children's literature professors, authors (including Philip Pullman, Jane Yolen and Julius Lester), teachers and librarians.
PUBYAC: Public Libraries serving Young Adults and Children. I highly recommend this group if you're a children's or young adult librarian at a public library, or if you're planning to be one. This group is full of practical recommendations, suggestions and advice. It's an excellent resource. Subscribers are primarily librarians.
Kidlitosphere: Kidlit bloggers. This is a newly created group for people who blog about children's literature. It's a great place to share advice and ask questions about blogging. If you write a blog about children's books, or are planning to start one, this list is just the place for you. Subscribers are primarily bloggers and include librarians, authors, teachers, parents, and many others. To cut down on spam, the Kidlitosphere moderators have asked bloggers not to post direct links to the group... so here's how to join: Go to Yahoo Groups and search for Kidlitosphere. Once you've been approved, add your blog to the directory and then join the discussion.
I find all of these groups to be invaluable places to learn and discuss with colleagues around the country, and around the world.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Fictional schools I would like to go to:
- Hogwarts. Yeah, I know it's a shock. But it would be cool, wouldn't it?
- Redmond College... the school that Anne (and Gilbert, Stella, Priscilla and Phil) attend in Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery. Now that I've been to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, I'm fairly certain that Redmond is based on Dalhousie University.
- The Plumfield Estate School that Jo and Fritz run in Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.
- The Catholic Academy in Salt Lake City that Tom attends in The Great Brain at the Academy by John D. Fitzgerald.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I learned 7 things about Travis at 100 Scope Notes. My favorite on Travis' list is: "I have been told I could make a modest living as an Abe Lincoln impersonator. I wish I had a picture, but I don’t, so click here and kinda squint your eyes. That’s sort of what it looks like when I’ve got on the beard and stovepipe."
I learned 7 things about Lisa at Under the Covers. My favorite on Lisa's list is: "I’m a writer. Not yet published (not since various college rags, anyway), but working on it. I write middle grade and young adult novels, mostly realistic but also some near-future science fiction. I’ve wanted to be a published novelist since I was seven, so it’s been taking a while. But I’ll get there someday."
I learned 7 seven things about Jennifer at Art, Words, Life. My favorite on Jennifer's list is: "I think that all the answers to everything can be found in books. Which is why I keep reading."
I learned 7 things about Abby at Abby (the) Librarian. My favorite thing on Abby's list: "I love doing laundry. This stems from finally having a washer and dryer in my apartment after several years of having to trek laundry across a parking lot and use all my quarters to get it done. In fact, the washer is going right now. :)"
I learned 7 things about Laura at Library & Literary Miscellany. My favorite on Laura's list is: "I pride myself on my chocolate chip cookie baking skills (although my gingersnaps aren’t too shabby either)."
I learned 7 things about Susan (look in the comments for the meme) at Chicken Spaghetti which was a list about the Roald Dahl books she hopes to read in the next year. My favorite on Susan's list is: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I firmly believe can never be read enough times.
To learn seven things about Wizards Wireless, see this post.
Thanks to everyone who did this, it was a lot of fun. And thanks to Jennie at Biblio File who tagged me in the first place. Anyone got another meme?
So, thank you, Jen. And if you haven't checked out her blog, I highly urge you to do so. It's a wonderfully informative and thorough blog about children's books and literacy.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Question: I've read the Harry Potter books...
- 30 %: I've read the series through about three to five times.
- 20 %: So many times that I'm embarrassed to admit how high the number is.
- 12 %: Twice. I read them once originally, and then a second time to prepare for Book 7.
- 10 %: I’ve read my favorite books in the series several times each.
- 10 %: One time each.
- 7 %: I haven't finished the series.
- 7 %: I haven't read the books.
Be sure to vote in the poll for your favorite Caldecott winning books. Currently in the lead is Where the Wild Things Are. The Snowy Day is in second place. Officer Buckle and Gloria, The Polar Express and Make Way for Ducklings are all tied for third place.
Incidentally, it's amazing how many people have been voting. Each poll has been averaging about 45 votes!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Look below the spoiler space for the questions she answered about Book 7.
Was Dudley's son on Platform 9 3/4 waiting to go to Hogwarts? J.K. Rowling's answer is here.
What exactly happened when Voldemort used the Avada Kedavra curse on Harry in the forest? J.K. Rowling's answer is here.
What exactly was the mutilated baby-like creature Harry saw at King's Cross in Chapter 35 of Hallows? J.K. Rowling's answer is here.
I've been asked all three of these questions many times myself, so I can't imagine how many times she's heard them since the publication of the 7th book.
Poetry Friday is a tradition in the Kidlitosphere (the community of bloggers who write about children's literature). Every Friday, poems are posted at various blogs and one person writes a round-up where they link to all the poetry. This week, the round-up is at Becky's Book Reviews.
This is my first ever Poetry Friday post, because it's the first time I've had a poem to contribute. This poem came into my head on Wednesday while I was shoveling the driveway with my son at 7 pm. I haven't written a poem for ten years, so it feels good to write again.
A Good Mom
A good mom searches for the red snow pants
even though the blue ones fit
because red is his favorite color.
A good mom finds his boots
even though they are in the attic
because he wants to wear them.
A good mom lets him use the shovel
even though it's too big for him
because he wants to help.
A good mom gives him her gloves
even though it's her only pair
because his hands are cold.
A good mom plays in the snow at night
even though she should be working
because he wants to play with her.
Or, at least
that's what I did
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I'm thrilled because I'm a huge fan of Jim Dale, but also because I think the audio book is particularly wonderful. I have the Harry Potter audio books memorized (Really, I do. I'm not kidding. Quiz me.) Deathly Hallows kicks it up an extra notch, and even surpassed Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (which I thought was the best until I heard #7.)
There are numerous times in the 7th book where the characters drink Polyjuice potion and transform into other people. Jim Dale manages to keep all these occurrences straight (something that gets quite confusing in the print version) by creating new voices for the Polyjuiced characters. Even better, he adds a bit of the original character's voice. For example, if Hermione was impersonating Bellatrix... the voice would sound both like Bellatrix AND Hermione. It's very impressive and very helpful.
There's a heartfelt letter to customers and the community on the store's website. Best of luck to the owner, Dinah Paul and the staff of A Likely Story. I'm sorry to see you go.
Every time I read a newspaper story about the closure of a small, beloved business, I have the same thought. Why can't these articles appear before the store is closed? After it's gone, there's not much anyone can do (except in the extraordinary case mentioned below). But if a store is struggling... an article in a publication like the Washington Post might give it a well needed boost, and may interest potential investors.
And, lest you think this is an unlikely pipe dream... look no further than Kepler's of Menlo Park, California. Kepler's actually did close for a month, and then 17 business owners stepped forward to form a new board of directors. The bookstore reopened in 2005 and is enjoying a new lease on life.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
My favorite Caldecott Honor books are:
- 2006: Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
- 2005: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
- 2005: The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
- 2004: Don't Let the
Pigeon Drivethe Bus by Mo Willems
- 2001: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type illustrated by Betsy Lewin, written by Doreen Cronin
- 2000: Sector 7 by David Wiesner
- 1993: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, illustrated by Lane Smith; text: Jon Scieszka
- 1989: Free Fall by David Wiesner
- 1988: Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe
- 1979: Freight Train by Donald Crews
- 1976: Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
- 1971: Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
- 1959: What Do You Say, Dear? illustrated by Maurice Sendak; written by Sesyle Joslin
- 1951: If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
- 1948: Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
- 1948: McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss
- 1940: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
By the way, I've been impressed at how many people have voted in my Caldecott poll so far.
The current leaders are The Polar Express and Where the Wild Things Are.
In second place are Flotsam, Officer Buckle and Gloria, The Snowy Day and
And tied for third place are Tuesday, Hey, Al, Saint George and the Dragon, Jumanji, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
Keep the votes coming!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be located at Universal Orlando in Florida and currently has a scheduled opening date of late 2009 or early 2010. Be sure to check out the concept art in the gallery at the official website. Doesn't it look fabulous?
I think these books have helped shape the body of American children's literature, whether we consciously realize it or not. It's an incredibly eye-opening experience to read each one... particularly some of the books that won decades ago, and to see how dramatically picture books have changed.
Wondering what the Caldecott Medal is? See the answer here. Here's a list of all the Caldecott Medalists, and here's a list of all the winners and honor books. And if this unbelievably lengthy poll works, I'll try the list of Newbery books next (which is even longer.)
This is a good place to mention that Leonard Marcus' fabulous book A Caldecott Celebration is being released in a brand new edition in February 2008. Marcus gives wonderful behind the scenes glimpses into seven Caldecott winning books and details the development process of each each one. The books he discusses are: Make Way for Ducklings, Cinderella, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Where the Wild Things Are, Jumanji, Tuesday and, just added for the new edition... The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. It's fascinating.
Are there Caldecott Medal winners that you love? Ones you've never heard of? Books that you just remembered when you read the list? Did you find a book that you didn't realize won the Caldecott?
Here are my personal favorite Caldecott winners:
- 2007: Flotsam by David Wiesner
- 2005: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
- 2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
- 2002: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
- 1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
- 1994: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
- 1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner
- 1991: Black and White by David Macaulay
- 1990: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from
by Ed Young China
- 1986: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- 1982: Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
- 1968: Drummer Hoff illustrated by Ed Emberley; text: adapted by Barbara Emberley
- 1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- 1963: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- 1955: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, illustrated by Marcia Brown; text: translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown
- 1954: Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
- 1943: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Make Wayfor Ducklings by Robert McCloskey